Religion Posts

  • My new Twitter handle is now live - check me out at @jackiewgibson!

  • CNN has posted a history of bias against Sikhs - more reason for people to learn about religions before they attack anyone:...

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Hackers group Anonymous takes down Vatican website:

  • WGN-TV calls doomsday prophecies "an illusion":

  • RT @graceishuman: Really,? Asking people JUST LEAVING the service how they felt about it? Tacky, tacky, inappropriate

  • Whitney Houston's funeral service really took the world to church. Love Pastor Winans' honesty, very moving.

  • #teacher ? Here are appropriate responses to situations with your Jehovah's Witness student:

  • #Teachers: Want to know why your Jehovah's Witness student won't say the pledge and how to respond?

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The Dalai Lama is speaking in Chicago today. Religion Transcends will be tweeting from the event, so hop over to this afternoon to follow the updates.

According to a study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, fewer than half of Americans can match the Dalai Lama to his religion. If you’re one of them use these tools to get familiar:

See you over at @religionblogger this afternoon!

What’s with all the recent violence in Egypt? Is it just Muslims attacking Christians? Are Christians ultimately responsible?

The recent spate of violence stems from years of tensions resulting from the mash-up of two groups: Coptic Christians and Wahhabi Muslims. Watch this video from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly to learn about these recent tensions.

Some definitions to know before you watch this video…

Who are the Coptic Christians?

Nowadays, this term refers to Egyptian Christians (including those who first came to the region in the 2nd and 3rd centuries), particularly members of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The term “Desert Fathers” refers to Christians of the desert in Egypt around the 3rd century. They became the first real monastic community, leading the way for present-day monks and nuns. As Egypt has changed from a mostly Christian country to a mostly Muslim country, the freedom and acceptance of Copts in Egypt has waned.

What is Wahhabi?

Wahhabism is a branch of Sunni Islam named after Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. (Click here to learn the difference between Sunni and Shi’ite.) It is prominent in Saudi Arabia, though often viewed as an extremist branch of Islam. Learn more about Wahhabism from PBS.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2011

My God is a God who wants me to have things. He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. – Mary J. Blige

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) began an investigation in November 2007 into the spending of American televangelists. Yesterday Grassley released his report, bringing a close to the investigation. The findings showed concern for the “lack of oversight of finances” but contained no penalties, according to the Associated Press.

The investigation looked into the ministries of six televangelists including Joyce Meyer Ministries, Benny Hinn Ministries, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changes Church International/Creflo Dollar Ministries, Without Walls International Church/Paula White Ministries, and Bishop Eddie Long/Bishop Eddie Long Ministries. The latter four refused to provide complete information to Grassley.

Why these six televangelists?

The Associated Press notes that all six televangelists preach the “prosperity gospel.”

What is the Prosperity Gospel?

Maybe you had already heard of Joyce Meyer, or maybe you’ve seen Joel Osteen on TV or on a book cover. Meyer and Osteen (and the televangelists probed in the investigation) promote prosperity theology, a belief by some evangelical Christians that God wants to make His people prosper financially.

The idea is a little bit “do this and you’ll get this” or perhaps it’s more passive: Just be Christian and God will give you things. One follower of this belief was quoted in Time magazine as saying, “Because I want to follow Jesus and do what he ordained, God wants to support us. It’s Joel Osteen’s ministry that told me. Why would an awesome and mighty God want anything less for his children?”

Such beliefs are often traced back to the covenant God made with His people in the Hebrew Bible. (Learn more about the covenant in this Judaism overview.) If these are God’s people, the thinking goes, and God wants to give them blessings, then surely that includes material goods. Others point to the New Testament of the Bible – ““For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

The movement has not been without its fair share of critics, particularly within Christianity. Click here to learn about these criticisms.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2011

The end of 2010 brought loads of bad news: attacks on Christians in their homes in Baghdad, attacks on a church in Egypt, the abduction of a Hindu spiritual leader in Pakistan, and so on. Unfortunately religion reporters had their hands so full with murders and devastation that very little airtime was left for coverage of religious celebrations: Pancha Ganapati, Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Ashura, etc. (Fortunately you can still click these links to learn more about those holidays.)

In the spirit of the new year, RT is taking a quick look at a couple of fun lists (ok, they’re serious issues, but who doesn’t enjoy light-hearted list-making?).

  1. Looking back: Religion Newswriters Association recently released its ranking of the top religion stories of 2010 (voted on by religion journalists). The top five stories involved the Ground Zero mosque proposal, the earthquake in Haiti, the pope’s handling of priest pedophiles, the Tea Party Movement, and Obama’s health care reform bill.
  2. Looking forward: The Public Religion Research Institute posted 10 stories from 2010 that will affect us in the coming months. These include churches and homosexuality, immigration reform, and Americans’ religious knowledge.

Still looking for a good new year’s resolution? Resolve to learn a little more about your neighbor’s faith this year. Click on the religion overviews in the top navigation to get some quick background information on the religions of people around you.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2011